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Pulitzer Prize finalist BARBARA KINGSOLVER tells ANGUS DALTON about a Trumpian property developer from the 1860s, carnivorous plants, and her new novel, Unsheltered.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Church attendance has been plummeting for decades, yet enrolments for church-based schools are soaring. Nearly all non-churchgoers say that they like having a church in their suburb – although they never go inside it. Leading social researcher HUGH MACKAY takes a look at our contradictory attitudes to religion in his new book, Beyond Belief. In this article, Hugh recounts a part of his own spiritual journey and how he came to write the book. Read on >
  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. Read on >
  • Read this and the ordinary world disappears,’ says Stephen King of
‘The Passage’ series. ANGUS DALTON talks with bestselling author JUSTIN CRONIN about his post-apocalyptic trilogy, the vampiric creatures he created to end humanity, and the last instalment of the series, The City of Mirrors. Read on >
  • This book might have the word ‘tax’ in its title, but don’t let that dreary term fool you. The Great Multinational Tax Rort tells the intriguing tale of how, for decades, multinational corporations have been slithering out of their obligations to pay their fair share of tax, leaving governments with shrinking funds to pay for essential services for their citizens. In this extract, MARTIN FEIL, also the author of The Failure of Free-Market Economics, outlines some of the techniques these business behemoths use to cunningly avoid paying tax – leaving us all the poorer. Read on >
  • The stories of SUSAN PERABO have been likened to the work of George Saunders and Raymond Carver. Her latest novel, The Fall of Lisa Bellow, kicks off when school student Meredith is kidnapped together with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow. Meredith is set free – but Lisa remains. We asked Susan to tell us about short stories versus novels, her love of baseball and writing advice she has received. Read on >
  • The symptoms of boredom, loneliness and heartache can often be alleviated by exposure to a good novel. But poetry can also have a similar healing effect. If you suffer from any of the following undesirable conditions, try these three poetic prescriptions that might just do the trick. Read on >
  • GEORGIA BLAIN is a novelist and journalist who lives in Sydney. Her first novel, Closed for Winter, was adapted into movie in 2009. LEONIE DYER asked Georgia about her latest novel, Between a Wolf and a Dog. Read on >
  • Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has inspired all kinds of fan fiction and adaptations, such as the 1966 prequel Wide Sargasso Sea. But in this new novel by Sydney resident JENNIFER LIVETT, the lives of Jane Eyre characters become entwined with those of real 19th-century Tasmanians, including doomed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Here Jennifer tells us how she came up with the idea for Wild Island. Read on >
  • Most of us think of Australia as a sunny land filled with straightforward, open and candid people. But in ANNA ROMER’s version of the country, it’s a place filled with secrets and people who will do anything to keep them concealed. She talks with ALEX HENDERSON about her new book, Beyond the Orchard, Victoria’s haunted Otway Coast and the power of fear. Read on >
  • The Sound, the second book from novelist SARAH DRUMMOND, is set around Western Australia’s King George
Sound. Based on a true story, the novel tells of Wiremu Heke, a Maori man from across the Tasman who sails from Tasmania to WA in 1825 on a mission of vengeance. We asked Sarah to tell us about Wiremu and about The Sound. Read on >
  •  Looking for an engrossing historical fiction read? gr has rounded-up eight of the best for you to try.   The books in Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series have undergone a renaissance recently after
being adapted into a BBC
TV series that has gained a cult following. When Claire Randall is thrown back in time from 1945 to 1743 she finds herself in a very different Scotland, where she is branded as an outlander or Sassenach (a derogatory word for an English person) in a country run by clans and invaded by Redcoats. Try this series if you like a well-researched historical sagas that have swashbuckling adventure and a bit of romantic romping. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Michael Quetting begins his memoir Papa Goose: One year, seven goslings, and the flight of my life by saying, ‘I’m heavily pregnant with nonuplets. At least that’s pretty much how I feel right now.’ Read a few chapters of this joyous book a night and you’ll go to sleep happy. Read on >

  • With an image on each page, this book has you smiling one minute and then suddenly tearing up. It’s the perfect gift for any dog lover, and you might find yourself to strive harder to live up to the brilliant person your dog sees you as. Read on >

  • Axel Linden’s On Sheep: Diary of a Swedish Shepherd ruminates on another domesticated mammal that even animal lovers don’t tend to look fondly upon. Indeed, calling someone a ‘sheep’ is an insult meant to insinuate stupidity. Read on >

  • The Eastern Curlew explores how Australia’s largest migratory shorebird – which sports an impressive curving bill five times longer than its head – flies 10 000 kilometres from Artic breeding grounds to feed on soldier crabs and molluscs populating mudflats on Australia’s east coast. Read on >

  • Alison Lester, who in 2012, became the Australia’s first Children’s Book Laureate, always writes and illustrates perfect little books for young children. Noni the Pony Rescues a Joey has such charming rhyming verse that it would be a pleasure to read aloud to the littlies. And the wonderfully expressive faces of the animals help to bring this happy little story to life. Read on >

  • Bronwyn Bancroft’s illustrations are, as always, distinctively big, bold and beautiful and the story is simply told by first-time children’s author, Nina Lawrence. But this is a story with a difference. It is a bilingual tale told in English and translated in Djambarrpuynu language from North East Arnhem Land. With many schools now promoting indigenous Australian languages this would be a wonderful introduction and inspiration for their students. Read on >

  • Once in a while, a book comes into your life that is so beautiful that you desperately want to give it to someone you love. This is that book for me. I Am the Seed that Grew the Tree is a collection of poems for children. There’s a poem for every day of the year. Read on >

  • Daykin has a quirky style that takes some getting used to. However, the story rollicks along with such enthusiasm that we soon adjust to the style and are abs orbed by the mystery. The characters are an interesting mix of eccentric, weird and relatively normal. Elvis, the youngest character, is often the most mature and sensible of the group. This is a fun exploration of issues that are important to all of us: who are we, where did we come from, and to whom do we belong? Read on >

  • This is a poignant, often thrilling story – beautifully illustrated by Emily Gravett – that gives permission to the reader to wonder about the greatest mystery of all: what happens afterwards. Read on >

  • For Peter, an unfathomable fear oppresses him. His calculating mind tallies, adds, subtracts and deciphers square roots – all to cloud the fear and allow him a somewhat normal existence. That is, until his mother becomes an unfortunate victim in an assassination attempt and his sister suspiciously disappears. Read on >

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